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How to Replace the Head Gasket on a 1988 Volkswagen Carbiolet

The head gasket in your 1988 VW Carbiolet can be found between the head cylinder and the engine block within your engine. Its purpose is to help prevent any fluids from the engine or radiator getting in to the cylinder head. If the head gasket becomes damaged it will no longer do this and can end up causing considerable damage to your engine. You can pick up a replacement head gasket for your vehicle from your local auto store.

Tools Used: Drain pan, Wrench set, Head gasket

Replace Head Gasket

Turn the engine of your Cabriolet off and leave it to cool down for around an hour. Open up the hood and remove the negative cable from the battery terminal by loosening the clamp bolt attached to the terminal with a socket wrench.

Locate the drain plug at the bottom of your radiator. Place the drain pan underneath the drain plug location. Remove the drain plug from the bottom of the radiator and drain the coolant in to the drain pan.

Pull the coolant line, upper and lower radiator hoses and the vacuum lines away from their respective connectors using your hands. Use a wrench to loosen the bolt attached to the drive belt tensioner. Pull the drive belt from the engine.

Use the socket wrench to remove the mounting bolts attached to the alternator, air cleaner unit and the rear timing belt cover. Remove them from the engine to gain access to the cylinder head.

Remove the bolts from the head cylinder starting at the top left and working your way around the head cylinder. Lift the head cylinder away to gain access to the head gasket. Remove the damaged head gasket from the engine.

Place the new head gasket on to the engine block. Reattach the head cylinder and fix in place with the mounting bolts. Place the alternator, rear timing belt cover and air cleaner unit back in place and secure by attaching the bolts. Reattach the coolant and vacuum lines as well as the upper and lower radiator hoses back in to their respective connectors. Attach the drive belt on to the tensioner and secure by tightening the tensioner bolt.

Remove the cap on the top of the radiator and pour new coolant in to the radiator. Reattach the cap. Place the negative cable back on the battery terminal and secure in place with the bolt clamp.

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